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Load shifting causes outbreak of bees on highway

Semi-trucks, tractor trailers and other large commercial trucks are a vital part of the distribution industry in the United States. These large vehicles are a common sight on highways across the country, and unfortunately accidents involving big rigs are fairly common as well.

When the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company leads to another driver or passengers suffering injury, they may be held responsible for the damages that are caused. But exactly what actions are considered negligent? And what injuries qualify for compensation?

What actions the driver commits behind the wheel aren’t the only ones that might be considered negligent. How the truck itself is loaded could become the basis of a negligence argument. This week, a truck driver from Miami was cited for unsafe shifting of load or cargo after the 16 to 20 million bees that he was carrying escaped when the truck overturned on its trip from Florida to Maine.

Two passengers and the driver of the truck suffered minor injuries, some associated with being stung as many as 50 to 100 times per person. What was probably a rarely used swarm removal plan was put into action by firefighters and officers. Water was used to send the bees in different directions instead of congregating near the bridge.

Authorities immediately sent out warnings to drivers in the area to roll up their windows and even avoid stopping and getting out of the car if possible. The warnings didn’t prevent all injuries, and some individuals unrelated to the initial crash were stung.

It is unclear if these other injuries were serious, but what if they were? What if a driver behind the truck had a severe allergy? What if it caused serious complications? What if these injuries were fatal for the person that was stung?

These hypothetical injuries had no direct relation to the collision; it wasn’t like they were a spinal cord injury suffered in the actual crash. How far removed from a negligent act can an injury be for a victim to still recover damages?

The truth is that an injury doesn’t have to occur as a result of the physical force itself in a collision, but recovery depends on the circumstances and the argument that is made. Situations that may not initially seem like they could rise to a viable claim still could lead to recovery, which is why a simple conversation with a personal injury attorney is something that shouldn’t be passed over.

Source: Click Orlando, “Truck carrying 20M bees from Florida overturns, causes havoc,” May 21, 2014

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